Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cura Personalis : A New Year Reflection

So my plan was to start blogging again on Ed Tech sorts of things. I had all kinds of ideas jotted in my iPad Notetaker app and was ready to pontificate on topics of integration, strategies for determining technology needs, classroom trends... the usual for this type of blog. But then, a colleague lost a fast and furious battle with cancer and suddenly my little world of integration seemed very little after all.

Sunday evening, during an impromptu prayer service held for the school community, the gathered were invited to reflect on the life of this educator. Reflection is a key process in Ignatian education. Upon reflection of new experience, the learner is invited to step back and discern where God is leading her/him, what action this new experience may generate, and how this new experience will fit with established values, morays, and actions (I am greatly generalizing the process here). On my personal reflection, one element of Sunday night's process stands out. Only students, past and present, were moved to speak. Every student addressed this educator's ability to focus on the individual in front of him. They mentioned feeling like the most important person in the world at that precise moment. The ability to listen, to care, to advocate for were the qualities of this man's being students (with raw grief) spoke aloud.

As technology education specialists, I think we often miss the point these students illuminated. It's not about who has the glitziest tools. It's not encouraging a flood of online activities. It's about students. It's about shaping and guiding and advocating for young people to grow into the most successful "them" possible. Ignatian education strives for cura personalis, generally interpreted to mean "care of the whole person". Listening to our students Sunday evening, I witnessed that process in action. They praised a life for the care given to every individual student.

So in this new year, I invite us all to reflect on our integration decisions. Are they made with students in care? Take time to talk to students as individuals. Take time to focus on them as if they are the most important people in the world. Because quite frankly - they are.

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